Chapter 4 Political Philosophy and System of Government in China: The Cameralists Johann Heinrich Gottlob von Justi

In: Chinese Thought in Early German Enlightenment from Leibniz to Goethe
Břetislav Horyna
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The chapter examines the influence of Chinese statecraft on Austrian and Prussian Cameralism. A typical representative of this connection is Justi, a German lawyer, economist and philosopher. China, in his judgment (supported by a study of translations from Couplet’s and Noël’s corpus, not just by reading travelogues and merchants’ narratives, from which Montesquieu is said to have drawn), is a monarchy, and not just any monarchy, but a wisely built and governed monarchy, where the laws applicable to all citizens and the mores cherished by thousands of years of tradition are regarded as the foundations of the state, respected and obeyed by all. Justi saw the guarantee of a functional civil service system in a strict system of civil service examinations. Influenced by Chinese sources, Justi based his political-economic framework on the foundations of a theory of the state viewed conceptually and built according to the methodological guideline of the question of the purpose of the state and its limits.

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